PITTSFORD — There's nothing wrong with Shawne Merriman's surgically repaired Achilles tendon, given how easily the defensive end burst past tackle Cordy Glenn shortly after the Buffalo Bills opened training camp Thursday.
Receiver Stevie Johnson's surgically repaired groin wasn't bothering him after making an acrobatic catch on the run. And defensive tackle Kyle Williams was so happy to be back on the field after having foot surgery nine months ago, that it reminded him of how much he missed playing.
"I never felt I needed to be reminded about how lucky we are to play the game," Williams said. "It's great to be back out there, and hopefully it just continues to get better and better and better."
Limping no longer, the Bills, as a whole, blasted off on the right foot in opening camp in suburban Rochester with a near fully healthy roster. That's quite a turnaround for a team that ended last year with 17 players — nine of them regulars — on injured reserve.
"We had so many people get hurt, so many guys that were team captains, leaders, great players," Williams said. "And now we get those great players back. We've added good players. So we have a lot to be excited about."
With expectations growing that the Bills have a shot at being competitive this season and end a 12-season playoff drought, coach Chan Gailey was looking forward to having many familiar faces back after a rash of injuries contributed to the team losing eight of its last nine in a 6-10 finish last year.
"It's great to have everybody here," Gailey said. "That's one of the keys for us is to have all hands on deck. It's nice to have it. And it's imperative to have it."